I aim a smile,
Baring teeth in greeting.
The return is fired
And ricochets around
The company assembled.
This is Christmas after all,
This is what we’ve been waiting for.
Across the walls yet more greetings,
Abrasively scratched cards
From relatives collected,
And seldom or never talked about friends,
And others hhardly ever known or met,
And here for a moment a sense of regret
Loiters with intent to do better.
Newcomers positioned on cushion laden seating
Are plied with traditional warming drink
And here we are ready
For the next thankful interruption from the door.
The procedure is fixed in tradition,
The routine ritual is old and needing updating,
The meaning lost.
Here I have gathered about me
Those who I knew much better
All of a month ago.
For then, between Christmases there dwell
Those I love.
Between Christmases at least
They have the Christmas spirit.